For many of us, a fitness tracker is the most indispensable accessory we own.
We style them up with our workwear and workout gear and rely on them to get us where we need to be on time. We use them to plan our sleep schedules and motivate our fitness routines. These small wearable devices gives us the motivation to move, inspiring us to compete against ourselves (and our family members, workmates and pals) every day to get fitter, faster and healthier.
Leaving the house without yours? Not. Even. An. Option. Especially if it’s a day you’re planning to do a 10K run…
Here are some things you may know if you’re one of the three million plus people in the UK who’s currently obsessed with their fitness tracker…
1. Everything in your life is a competition
And every other fitness-tracking person you know is a potential competitor. Is it a massive social faux-pas to ask a blind date how many steps they’ve racked up before determining their name? Possibly. But it’s too late, because you’ve already done it (and then excused yourself to power walk around the restaurant so you could get your stats up). On the plus side, obsessively treating your tracker like a game may be turning you into a social pariah, but at least it’s making you a fit one. A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania found that those incentivised to track in a competitive, gamified way did 1,700 more steps on average than those who weren’t in on the game. Just sayin’.
2. You treat your tracker like it’s an internal organ
And leaving the house without it will most definitely cause you to hyperventilate as dramatically as you would if something were actually wrong with you. If you do leave the house and realise you’ve forgotten it, you’re tempted to pull a sickie - if you didn’t track it, did it even happen? Like the tree that fell in the forest when no one was there to hear it, we’re not totally sure it did.
3. You’re suddenly a numbers person
If you’ve learned more about analysing data and reading graphs in the last six months since you’ve acquired your tracker than in your entire academic career, then, yes, you’re a total fitness tracker obsessive. But you’re sure feeling like a brainy one.
4. The strap is EVERYTHING
Yes, you’ve even bought trainers to coordinate with your tracker of choice. And also a handbag (or two). And you’re not ashamed to admit it – it’s become the single most important accessory in your arsenal.
5. You start your day by compulsively checking your sleep data
Remember the days when you’d wake up and scroll through Facebook? Or trawl Twitter? Or fantasise over everyone else’s perfectly curated Instagram life? Yeah, you don’t have time for that anymore because the second you wake up now, you’re checking how much REM and deep sleep you got. NB: This tends to become a fixation with people currently experiencing some level of sleep deprivation, i.e. new parents. Or anyone dating a wannabe rock star.
6. You only charge your tracker when you’re not moving
Because charging it and then finishing up errands around the house would mean you’ve missed out on logging precious ‘running up and down the stairs’ data. No way. You tend to charge while sitting at your desk at work. And – gasp – you’ve even charged your tracker ahead of your iPhone when your phone was on 10% battery. But you were heading out for an 18-hole round of golf. Priorities, right?
7. The only time you’ve taken an Uber is...
On the day you forgot your tracker after a shower.
8. Shortcut? What shortcut?
You’ve Google Mapped your way to the lengthiest commute you can find – the one that requires the most walking. You also always take the stairs, walk further afield to get your lunch and find yourself making excuses to go out in the pouring rain, all in the name of getting your step count up.
9. Going to meetings means something different to you now
Your relationship to your tracker changed forever that afternoon you stood in front of the telly marching in place to get your step count to that coveted 10K mark. Or maybe it was that time you left your mates boozing at the pub and ran home – yep, RAN, after a few beers – just to get your heart rate up so you wouldn’t miss out on your recommended five-day exercise goal.
10. Your friends/SO/flatmates are all wondering if you’ve secretly started working for a fitness tracker company
Because your PR pitch has become so good, you know every stat out there and you seem to have a different tracker each time they see you. And you may have yet another one on your Christmas wish list…